“I was just trying to hit it too straight” Overcoming a right OB, the national champion’s first win proves there’s more than one path in golf
South Korea’s Kim Dong-min, 25, won his first career title on the Korean Professional Golf Association (KPGA) Korean Tour in just his 66th event.
Kim shot a five-under-par 67 in the final round of the KPGA Korean Tour’s KB Financial Live Championship (total prize money of 700 million won) at Blackstone Golf Club (par-72) in Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, on 28 April, giving him a four-round total of 8-under-par 280.
First win since making his KPGA Korean Tour debut in 2020.스포츠토토
A bronze medallist in the men’s golf team event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, he has had a difficult time on the professional stage. In three years, he made the cut in only 19 of 47 tournaments. Last year, he missed the cut in the first nine of 21 events.
Even his seeding was in doubt, but he turned things around in the second half of the season, shaking off the OB burden. He finished in the top 10 in three of the last four events of the second half, including a runner-up finish, to retain his seeding at No. 57 in the Genesis Points. He continued his rise this season with a fourth-place finish at the DB Insurance Promi Open and a runner-up finish at the Golf Zone Open.
Kim added to the list of upset winners that has become a tradition at this event with a stunning come-from-behind victory.
Tied for 10th, five shots off the lead after three rounds, Kim made four birdies on the back nine to move into contention.
A three-putt bogey at the 17th (par-4) seemed to put him out of contention, but an eagle at the 18th (par-5) completed a thrilling comeback.
With 236 yards to go, he attacked the green with a wood and dropped his ball five metres short of the hole, and his hard-hit eagle putt dropped straight into the cup. It was an instant win. Kim Dong-min, who finished first, clinched the title when Shin Sang-hoon, who was trailing by one stroke, made a double bogey at the par-4 17th.
“I never dreamed of winning until I finished the third round,” said Kim. “I knew I was tied for the lead on the 17th (par-4). I decided to go for eagle on the 18th and chose a 3-wood, which landed close to the pin and I was able to make eagle. My last putt was for eagle,” he recalled.
“My lack of accuracy off the tee has prevented me from winning in the past,” he said, adding, “I felt more confident with my driver. I had a lot of OBs going right. I was trying to hit it too straight. I was trying to hit it too straight, so I worked on my driver by myself to try to hit a fade. My tee shots were much better than in the first half of last year, so I was more confident.”
“This year, I want to add one more win to top the Genesis Points and win the Genesis Grand Prize, and I want to participate in the final stage of the Q-School on the Confederation Tour,” said Kim.